My husband and I are baby boomers who recently got married. This cruise was to be our honeymoon. He had been on 2 prior cruises. I had never been on one. So I came on board with no preconceived ideas, unlike him.
We arrived in Galveston the night before and stayed in a hotel. The next morning he dropped me and the luggage off at the terminal while he parked the truck in Lot B. Checking in and getting on board went efficiently except for the fact that they did not have a Sail and Sign card ready for me, even though we had registered on line and each of us had given credit card numbers for our Sail and Sign cards weeks before.
We had an aft corner cabin with a large wraparound deck. We spent a lot of time out on the deck because it was so relaxing to sit out there and watch the scenery go by. The room was clean but I noticed on the first day that there was an odor of stale beer when you stood in one particular spot in the room. Someone must have spilled beer on the carpet at one time and it was never properly cleaned up.
My husband had brought one bottle of Seagram's on board as we had read repeated reviews on Cruise Critic of people doing this. He wanted to have a drink in our room before dinner and late in the evening while sitting out on our deck balcony. After we had set sail, he took a Sprite from the mini bar and had his usual mix drink before we went down to dinner, placing his Seagram's in the mini bar before we left the room. Hours later when we returned he found the mini bar locked, although it had been unlocked when we first got to our room. He called to have it unlocked, only to discover that his new bottle of Seagram's was no longer in the mini-bar. Whoever locked it behind us when we went to dinner felt free to steal it. He wanted to let it drop but I insisted we lodge a complaint at the purser's desk. Theft is theft. How am I to feel comfortable leaving my jewelry, passport and personal effects in a room when this happens on the first evening out? The purser said we were not suppose to bring alcohol on with us (which everyone knows and no one abides by). He said he would check into it, but he never got in contact with us again.
Our first port of call was Jamaica. We did not do any excursions in Jamaica, having read the reviews about the group that was robbed at gunpoint on a ship sponsored excursion up into the mountains. We took the shuttle into Montego Bay, did some shopping, then came back to the ship for treatments at the Spa for both of us. The Spa was lovely and the staff who took care of us were very competent at what they did. It was a relaxing afternoon for us both.
We had early seating in the Monet Room. We found the menu to be nicely varied, something for everyone, and the food was excellent. If there was one place where the Conquest excelled it was our wait staff in the Monet. Our maitre d' Alexandro from Uruguay always made a point to stop by our table and ask how we were doing and if there was anything we required. Our waiter Carlos from Peru gave exceptional service, always with a smile. Our lovely little wine stewardess Agnesia from Indonesia made a point of remembering what wines we preferred. As far as we're concerned all 3 of these individuals deserve a promotion. They gave exceptional service. We could not have asked for better.
We tried to avoid the buffet lines in the Cezanne. The food was mediocre at best and it had a real cattle call feel about it, especially for breakfast. I much preferred a quiet sit-down breakfast in the Monet and the food was far better there than in the buffet line.
We only went to a few of the evening shows. My husband told me beforehand that I would love the shows, that they were on a par with shows in Vegas. We didn't find that to be the case. They were really kind of sophomoric and a waste of time.
My husband enjoyed the casino and won several times at the slot machines, so he was happy with that particular part of the cruise.
I used the Internet Cafe to stay in touch with friends and family at home, but we probably should have brought our laptop and used the ship's WiFi instead. It would be less expensive to compose one's emails off line on a laptop and then connect to the Internet to send them, rather than paying 75 cents a minute while writing them.
Room service was always prompt and delivered with a smile. The room service staff obviously works hard.
My husband felt our state room was not kept as tidy as he had experienced on prior cruises and we only had the towel animals for a couple of nights. For some reason that really disappointed him - I didn't really care one way or another. Nor did any of the staff ever remember or call us by our names - which again he had experienced on prior cruises.
But there was an issue with towels that I did care about. The morning our ship arrived back in Galveston, I stepped out of the shower and reached for what had been really nice thick towels the whole cruise, only to find a thin threadbare towel that probably should have been retired years ago. Thinking it was just that one towel put there by mistake, I started feeling all of them. Nope, they were all the "old" towels. I guess this is something they have to do because of people stealing towels when they leave, something I've never understood. Why on earth would you steal plain white towels when really beautiful towels are plentiful and inexpensive back home? Whatever. I just think they should come up with a better way of handling the issue if indeed it's such a big one for them, because the underlying message that came through for me was "We're done with you now, the cruise is over, you aren't going to spend anymore money on board, so we don't give a darn." Tacky, tacky, tacky, Carnival Cruise Lines!!!!
We waited in our room for our zone number to be called to disembark. As we took that last long trek from our aft cabin to the midship elevators, we both noticed that the stateroom cleaning staff no longer wished us good morning or made any effort to get their large carts out of the way as we struggled with our carry on luggage in the confined space. Again, I had the feeling that they really didn't give a damn because the cruise was over, so why bother. While standing in line to disembark and talking with other passengers, they too came away with the same feeling.
Because Dave was a returning cruiser and I was a novice, we both had different things we really liked and really disliked about this experience. Overall Dave felt things were just not done as well as they had been on prior Carnival cruises. I, on the other hand, didn't have anything to compare it to. I loved being at sea and being able to relax and do whatever we wanted. Again, the high point for me was the staff who took care of us in the Monet dining room. Their attitude and attentiveness made the cruise for me.
We both agreed we want to do another cruise in the next year, maybe Alaska or Europe, but he's leaning toward a different cruise line. Theft and apathy are not the way to win returning cruisers, Carnival.